Top $4.5 mn, sleep with Marilyn Monroe forever

By Pat Reber, IANS
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WASHINGTON - The legendary draw of one of America’s biggest and most tragic celebrities, the late Marilyn Monroe, has grown larger.

Bidding reached $4.5 million on eBay Tuesday for a crypt above the final resting place of the sex idol at the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Monroe died in 1962 at age 36 of a probable overdose of barbiturates, still in her prime of beauty but suffering personal problems and loneliness. Elton John memorialised her in his song “Candle in the Wind”: “Hollywood created a superstar, And pain was the price you paid, Even when you died, Oh the press still hounded you.”

The hounding continued this week with macabre headlines like “Get Atop Marilyn Monroe, In a Crypt” and “Sleep with Marilyn Monroe Forever”.

The seller, a Los Angeles widow, clearly knew what she was doing when she put her late husband’s tomb up for sale on the internet auction site eBay.

“Here is a once in a lifetime and into eternity opportunity to spend your eternal days directly above Marilyn Monroe,” Elsie Poncher’s eBay ad states. “In fact the person occupying the address right now is looking face down on her.”

Poncher told the Los Angeles Times that she wants the money to pay off the $1.6-million mortgage on her Beverly Hills Home so she can leave the property “free and clear for my kids”.

What better way than to move the remains of her late husband, Richard Poncher, to a different location - her own nearby burial crypt - and sell the hot property? The starting bid was $500,000.

Poncher said her husband bought the crypt from Joe DiMaggio, the baseball player who had a short-lived marriage with Monroe in 1954. When Poncher’s husband was dying, he asked her to put him “upside down over Marilyn” - and she did.

The husband, an entrepreneur who died 23 years ago at age 81, also threatened to “haunt you the rest of my life” if she failed to have him turned face down.

Marilyn’s crypt has been a draw for other buyers - like Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, for example, who plunked down $75,000 in 1992 for the crypt next to Monroe.

Other greats buried in the cemetery include actresses Natalie Wood and Donna Reed, musicians Buddy Rich and Frank Zappa, filmmakers Billy Wilder and Darryl F. Zanuck, and writers Sidney Sheldon and Truman Capote.

The e-Bay auction, which continues until Monday, defies the current flood of burial plot offerings at reduced prices on websites like Craig’s List.

Cemetery operators say that fewer people are making advance purchases of cemetery plots right now, given the recession. In fact, some told the Washington Post that they are receiving a higher number of calls from people wanting to sell their plots.

One unemployed woman, Debbie Jenkins, was selling her two plots at a Maryland burial spot, the Fort Lincoln Cemetery, to make ends meet.

“MUST SELL!!! Be prepared! … Rare opportunity to get into this sold out section!” she wrote in the Craig’s List ad.

Jenkins, who was featured in the Post article, told DPA that the article had not yet helped to sell her plots, valued at $7,600. She was hoping to make at least $4,000 from the sale.

Filed under: Hollywood, Movies, World

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